When you first launch a business, it’s all about the idea –  How great it will be when potential customers see.  How exciting it will be to implement.  How your awesome idea will change the world.

Then you launch.  Guess what?  Not everybody thinks what you’re doing is a good idea.

This is when you need to develop tough skin.

To give you a little personal history, I’m a marketer and project manager by trade.  I worked for several years at GarageGames managing a vibrant community of aspiring video game developers.  Most of them were smarter than me, but I never felt intimidated because, to be honest, they’re a great group of people.  Although the software, like any product, had its critics, I never took it personally because so many people rallied behind our team.

Launching a new business, though, is not so easy.  For starters, you begin with nothing: no fans, no encouragement, just you and your idea.  Although we’ve been lucky enough to be building a brand fairly rapidly, we’re still small, and it can be disheartening when even one user says our idea “sucks.”  What is even harder is that, from a marketing standpoint, you have to build everything from ground zero.  For me, that means posting a lot on Twitter.  I’ve written a post about my marketing philosophy on Twitter (I try to only engage in useful, relevant conversation), but even so, I still get people telling me I’m a fraud or a spammer.

It can be tough on the ego.

Fortunately, even though we’re small, we also have our supporters.  Northwest Children’s Dentistry has been with us from the beginning of the beta, and a newcomer Steward School has been vocal about their use of Fellowstream.   I’ve met a ton of great people through the Fellowstream blog, and to be fair, most of my online interactions are positive.  I should consider myself lucky to be involved in such a huge project that I believe in, and others do too.

So fellow entrepreneurs, some advice: develop a tough skin.  You’ll need it.  Because whenever you do something noteworthy, it will attract both criticism and praise.  Push the negative thoughts aside and focus on your mission.

-Deborah Fike

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